Part of the Swedish Empire

History of Latvia between 1621 - 1721

During the Polish–Swedish War (1600–1629) Riga and the largest part of Duchy of Livonia came under Swedish rule in 1621. During the Swedish rule Vidzeme was known as the "Swedish Bread Basket" because it supplied the larger part of the Swedish Kingdom with wheat. The rest of Latvia stayed Polish until the second partition of Poland in 1793, when it became Russian.

In 1632 the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus founded Dorpat University which became the intellectual focus for population of Livonia. The translation of the whole Bible into Latvian in 1685 by Johann Ernst Glück was subsidized by the Swedish government. Also the schools for Latvian speaking peasantry were set up in the country parishes.

Riga was the second largest city in the Swedish Empire at the time. Together with other Baltic Sea dominions, Livonia served to secure the Swedish Dominium maris baltici. In contrast to Swedish Estonia, which had submitted to Swedish rule voluntarily in 1561 and where traditional local laws remained largely untouched, the uniformity policy was applied in Swedish Livonia under Karl XI of Sweden: serfdom was abolished in the estates owned by the Swedish crown, peasants were offered education and military, administrative or ecclesiastical careers, and nobles had to transfer domains to the king in the Great Reduction. These reforms were subsequently reversed by Peter I of Russia when he conquered Livonia.

Inflanty Voivodeship

After the Polish–Swedish War (1600–1629) only the Southeastern part of the Duchy of Livonia ramained under Polish-Lithuanian rule. The Catholicism became the dominant religion in this territory known as Inflanty or Latgale as a result of Counter-Reformation.

References: Wikipedia

Popular sites founded between 1621 and 1721 in Latvia

Mentzendorff House

Mentzendorff House, a subunit of the Museum of History and Navigation, with its 17-18th century atmosphere is the only museum of its kind in the Baltics. The exposition is set up in a building of 1695, which up to 1939 was a dwelling-house with a shop and warehouses. A dwelling-house museum renders the everyday life of wealthy Riga residents in the past. The unique ceiling and wall paintings of the 17th-18th centuries ha ...
Founded: 1695 | Location: Riga, Latvia

Skaistkalne Church

The Roman Catholic Skaistkalne Church (dedicated to Our Lady) was completed in 1692 and 1698. It is one one largest rural churches in Latvia and an early Baroque style masterpiece. It was one of the first Baroque style churches in Latvia. The icon of Our Miraculous Lady – the Protectress of Latvian Families – is found in the side altar of Skaistkalne shrine, people, especially newlyweds and families have pra ...
Founded: 1692 | Location: Skaistkalne, Latvia

St. Anne's Church

The Lutheran church of St. Anne (Anna) is the oldest building in Jelgava. The foundation act was approved in 1567 and the stone church was built during 1638-1641. An oak tree was planted next to the church in 1883, celebrating the 400th birthday of Martin Luther.
Founded: 1638-1641 | Location: Jelgava, Latvia

Burtnieki Lutheran Church

The Lutheran church of Burtnieki is located on the Eastern bank of the lake. The first church was built there in 1234. It was a Catholic church, built from wood. It burned down and was replaced by a stone wall church between 1283-1287. It was destroyed in 1654, during the Polish-Russian War. The current church was built in 1688. Near the church is located a minister estate building complex, renovated in 1992. The estate ...
Founded: 1688 | Location: Burtnieki, Latvia

Daugavgriva Castle Ruins

Daugavgrīva Castle was originally a monastery converted as a fortress by Swedish in the 17th century. Today there are no remnants of the medieval castle above the soil. In 1208 there was a Dünaburg castle built by the Teutonic Knights which initially served as a monastery. The Swedish fortress of Dünamünde, designed in a Dutch style by General Rothenburg in 1641, replaced the ruined Daugavgrīva C ...
Founded: 1680 | Location: Riga, Latvia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.